With their first selection of the 2019 NHL Draft at 10th overall, the Vancouver Canucks selected Vasili Podkolzin.
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) June 22, 2019
With an eye for the net, the Canucks get a bonafide goalscorer with their first pick of their hometown draft. Standing at 6-foot-1, the left-hand shot winger has been a phenom in the offensive zone as a member of the Russian national team that was highlighted at the Under-18 Worlds and the World Juniors in Vancouver.
Described as a “bulldog”, Podkolzin has that nasty edge that every fan will love. With that, he has a skill of entering the zone and an elite finisher in this draft class.
He split his time last season between three leagues in Russia, the MHL, VHL and KHL, but he was able to keep consistent throughout all three.
He scored two goals and five points through 14 games in the VHL, where he spend the most time last season, but considering that league is Russia’s version of the AHL and he was playing among men, his production is not to worry about.
Not putting up the amount of points that is common among top prospects, Podkolzin is a very tools-heavy pick, having the speed, skill and stick handling to make a mark in Russia next season and hopefully with the Canucks as soon as he comes to North America.
Balancing physicality and skill, the Russian winger can blend in perfectly with the current Canucks team that might be lacking that. But there is a reason that the player was left for the Canucks to grab. He currently has a two-year contract in the KHL, meaning that it is assumed that he will not be playing professional hockey in North America until at least the 2021-22 season.
A somewhat surprising pick for the Canucks, with their past of Russian players they were assumed to not take the risk.
Podkolzin is an elite-level offensive talent with a knack for getting in the faces of his opponents.